West Linn gives up a pair of penalty kicks but fends off Lake Oswego 4-3 to stay close to first place

The West Linn girls soccer team put itself right back in the race for a league title on Tuesday, avenging its toughest loss of the season by hanging on for a 4-3 win over Lake Oswego.

In the teams' previous meeting, West Linn lost to the Lakers 2-1 on a goal in the final minute of regulation. This time the Lions overcame ceding a pair of penalty kicks for a win that puts them in a tie for second place with Clackamas in the TRL.

Lake Oswego would get on the board first when a penalty kick was called just six minutes into the contest.

West Linn would rally six minutes later when Paige Myers delivered a perfect through ball to Madison Leek who ran on to the pass and scored easily.

It was a wild first half with multiple scoring chances for both teams.

West Linn took its first lead midway through the first half when Myers played a cross in front of net and Nicole Campbell knocked it in.

Lake Oswego would regain the lead a few minutes later when a dangerous cross was first headed off the crossbar by Grayson Williams-Krebs who then scored on the rebound.

The Lakers had a few more scoring chances than the Lions did in the first half and opened the second half with a golden opportunity to retake the lead. A corner kick landed in the box and wasn't cleared, setting off a scrum just a few feet from the goal.

West Linn made a concerted effort to slow down Grayson-Krebs as the game progressed as she has been a popular target on offense for the Lakers this season.

“We wanted to shut her down in the midfield to make it so we could find our own rhythm,” coach Holly Popenuk said.

Ten minutes into the second half, it was Myers who set up another scoring chance for the Lions. She won the ball on the end line and made another terrific cross in front of the net.

Campbell got a foot on the ball again and knocked it off the post before eventually hitting it in, putting West Linn up 3-2.

The Lions seemingly put the game away with 13 minutes to play when Leek used her speed to beat her defender down the right side, culminating with a perfect shot to the far post.

“My teammates did a really nice job playing the ball on the ground with pace up to me and I was just glad I could get it past the defenders,” Leek said.

However, just 20 seconds later, West Linn was whistled for another penalty in the goal box and the Lakers executed the penalty kick to make it a one-goal game again.

“I think we showed a lot of character to hang in there. We knew we had to win this game to be a position to win league,” Popenuk said.

Lake Oswego put pressure on the Lions down the stretch and Grayson-Krebs nearly tied the game with a shot that sailed wide.

West Linn continued to be aggressive as well and Leek nearly completed her hat trick with a hard shot that was stopped by a terrific save from point blank range.

Ultimately the Lions held on for a hugely important victory and are now just two points behind Lakeridge for the league lead.

“I think this shows we can beat anyone in this really tough league,” Leek said.

West Linn will travel to Canby next Tuesday.

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